VP Kamala Harris visiting N.J. Friday to promote vaccinations and Biden’s child care proposals

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Vice President Kamala Harris is coming to New Jersey on Friday to highlight vaccinations and a key proponent of the spending bill now working its way through Congress: child care.

Harris is scheduled to visit Montclair and Newark to talk about President Joe Biden’s spending plan and to urge Americans to take the coronavirus vaccine, according to a White House official speaking on condition of anonymity in advance of the announcement about her trip.

The spending plan, which is expected to be reduced from its current $3.5 trillion price tag, would expand and hold down the cost of child care to make it easier for women to work outside the home. Many women left their jobs during the coronavirus pandemic as schools and child care centers closed, forcing them to stay at home.

Biden’s proposal would provide free preschool for 3- and 4-year-olds, increase salaries for child care workers, lower costs of child care, and extend the tax credit for those taking care of children, or other dependents. A U.S. Treasury Department report released last month called the child care sector “a crucial and underfunded part of the American economy.”

The bill also would expand health care, fight climate change, and address the Republican tax law’s $10,000 cap on deducting state and local taxes. Congressional Democrats plan to pass the legislation through a process known as reconciliation, which prevents a Senate Republican filibuster and allows approval by majority vote.

Progressive House Democrats last week blocked consideration of separate $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure legislation until lawmakers in both houses also agreed on a second spending bill.

Harris and the rest of the Biden administration have been pushing for Americans to be vaccinated against COVID-19 as the virus continues to spread in areas where residents have not gotten the vaccine and U.S. deaths have climbed over 700,000.

Biden came to New Jersey visit last month, when he toured Manville, ravaged by the remnants of Hurricane Ida.

Newark hosted then-President Barack Obama in November 2015, when he came to talk about efforts to overhaul the criminal justice system. That was a top priority of U.S. Sen. Cory Booker, a former mayor of the city.

And as a senator, Harris worked with Booker on legislation to change police practices in response to the killing of George Floyd, an unarmed Black man.

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Jonathan D. Salant may be reached at jsalant@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him at @JDSalant.

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Biden allies reportedly confused by Kamala Harris' secretive California trip

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It seems we have yet another instance of unnamed Biden White House advisors or “allies” complaining about Vice President Kamala Harris.

Over the weekend, Vice President Kamala Harris made an overnight trip to Palm Springs with no public appearances. She arrived Friday evening and departed Saturday morning with the White House providing no stated purpose of the trip.

On Monday morning, New York Times White House reporter Annie Karni tweeted, “This trip to California is confusing to some Biden allies, who are wondering why the VP who was a Senator is not more involved in helping the administration’s domestic agenda gain the support it needs in the Senate.”

Congressional Democrats are currently struggling to agree on legislative language that would advance stalled infrastructure and social spending bills. Last week, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi had to again delay a vote on a bipartisan infrastructure package after House progressives threatened to vote it down due to a lack of progress on a separate spending bill.

Harris, who was indeed a member of Congress from 2017 until the start of this year, has seemingly been sniped at via leaks more than any other vice president in recent memory.

After Harris' much-maligned interview with NBC’s Lester Holt, CNN reported that multiple administration officials were “quietly perplexed about what they perceive as her bumpy answers to questions about whether she will go to the US-Mexico border.”

When Politico reported that that her office is an “abusive environment” where “people are thrown under the bus from the very top,” anonymous members of Biden’s team said they were “concerned about the way Harris’ staffers are treated.”

The most damning report came from Axios in July. The term “s—tshow” was thrown around in reference to Harris' office, and Democratic operatives said they were growing increasingly pessimistic on the prospects of Harris being the standard bearer for the Democratic Party once Biden is done.

“Most Democrats aren’t saying, ‘Oh, no, our heir apparent is f—king up, what are we gonna do?’ It’s more that people think, ‘Oh, she’s f—king up, maybe she shouldn’t be the heir apparent,'” Axios quoted one Democratic operative as saying.

Kamala Harris Will Host YouTube Special About Space Exploration: ‘We’re Going to Learn So Much’

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“I just love the idea of exploring the unknown,” the vice president, who also serves as head of the National Space Council, says in a preview for Get Curious with Vice President Harris, which launches Thursday

Kamala Harris Will Host YouTube Special About Space Exploration: ‘We’re Going to Learn So Much’

Vice President Kamala Harris is boldly going … to YouTube and beyond to help educate children about space.

The video platform announced Tuesday that Harris, 56, host a YouTube Originals Kids & Family special to kick off World Space Week. Get Curious with Vice President Harris follows a group of kids as they meet her and go on a scavenger hunt with clues delivered by NASA astronaut Shane Kimbrough from the International Space Station.

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As Kimbrough helps the kids find a puzzle piece, they will continue to discover new puzzle pieces until they have all the tools needed to create a DIY telescope, according to a description of the special.

“This year during World Space Week, I am calling on my team to get curious,” Kimbrough says in a trailer. “The universe is full of new discoveries to be made. You’ll have help from me and a couple other important people along the way.”

Youtube Originals Get Curious Youtube Originals Get Curious with Kamala HarrisCredit: Youtube Kids | Credit: Youtube Kids

YouTube says that in addition to solving a puzzle and creating a telescope, the kids will also get “unprecedented exclusive access to the United States Naval Observatory,” where the vice president lives with Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff.

While visiting the observatory, the children will meet with Harris to discuss her role as vice president “as well as the wonders of space,” according to a news release.

“My mom was a scientist. She would take us to the lab with her on the weekends and after school because she had to work long hours,” Harris, who also serves as head of the National Space Council, says to the group of kids in the special.

Vice President Kamala Harris views the telescope at the Naval Observatory at the Vice President’s Residence in Washington, D.C Vice President Kamala Harris views the telescope at the Naval Observatory at the Vice President’s Residence in Washington, D.C | Credit: Lawrence Jackson

The council focuses on promoting STEM and advancing the scientific understanding of the universe via space activities and is traditionally chaired by the vice president.

“I just love the idea of exploring the unknown,” Harris says in the special. “We’re going to learn so much as we increasingly are curious and interested in the potential for the discoveries and the work we can do in space. That’s one of the things I’m most excited about.”

Nadine Zylstra, head of Family, Learning and Impact for YouTube Originals, said in the release that they hope the special “encourages kids to ask questions and explore space.”

Vice President Kamala Harris welcomes five kids aged 12-14 years old for a conversation for a YouTube Special Vice President Kamala Harris welcomes five kids aged 12-14 years old for a conversation for a YouTube Special | Credit: Lawrence Jackson

Vice President Kamala Harris welcomes five kids aged 12-14 years old for a conversation for a YouTube Special, Vice President Kamala Harris welcomes five kids aged 12-14 years old for a conversation for a YouTube Special | Credit: Lawrence Jackson

“Upholding our commitment to inspiring kids’ interests and learning, this special delivers quality, educational programming to our young viewers around the globe — and it’s pretty cool to have the Vice President of the United States and astronaut Shane Kimbrough help us do it,” Zylstra said.

The National Space Council, established under President George H. W. Bush, was revived by the Trump administration.

Harris was announced as the new head of the group in May, writing in a tweet at the time: “As I’ve said before: In America, when we shoot for the moon, we plant our flag on it. I am honored to lead to our National Space Council.”